I know many of you are unfamiliar with Colin Trotman Jr. In fact, some of you only learned about him after he passed away. But, I can bet that even if you hadn’t met him, you knew his work.
Colin spent most of his career at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas. He was a producer and cameraman who worked behind the scenes to make many of the people in front of the cameras look and sound good.
Many times, we focus on the star of the show, forgetting that there are tons of amazing professionals working behind the scenes to make them shine. Colin was one of those people.
Colin and I worked at competing TV stations, but you would never know that. He never treated me that way.
Colin: The Professional’s Hero
I had seen him in the field many times dressed in his dark blue pants and short-sleeved light blue uniform. He would always give a shy-boy smile and wave every time he saw me. He was a big fella, so he used to give these bear hugs and was always incredibly warm.
I recall one moment in particular when I was covering Parliament and was about to head back to my station to write my story. My colleague called me to tell me that the tape deck that we used to record Parliament started malfunctioning and my entire recording was lost.
This couldn’t have happened on a worse day, as this was a heavy news day with a lot going on.
As I stood there having a full-blown panic attack, Colin quietly walked up behind me and said that if I could get a tape to him, he would dub the proceedings for me. I ran up East Street to Jones Communications, got a few tapes and came back to Colin. While the House was on lunch break, he and I sat there and he did as he promised, recording that morning’s proceedings.
When he was done, he just smiled and handed me the tapes, asking for nothing in return. I almost cried.
This may not seem like a big deal, but you have to understand that this man gave up his time to help me and I wasn’t even working for his station. I was his media colleague, but not his day-to-day colleague.
Even though we were competitors, he saw the predicament I was in and immediately jumped in to help without me asking. This, ladies and gentlemen, is not the norm. Especially in our current environment where media rivals are always looking for any opportunity to best their competition.
I never forgot that moment and I never will. In fact, it was that sweet and tender memory that immediately surfaced after I got the news of his passing.
That was the type of person Colin was – one-of-a-kind. He was great at his job, truly looked like he enjoyed what he did and to a lot of people, he was a hero.
There Was No One Like Colin
In a business where egos are the size of planets, it was refreshing to encounter someone who was fantastic at what they did, but was also incredibly humble.
Beyond humble, he was positive, kind and helpful.
Even if you scrolled through his social media accounts today, you would see that he often posted inspirational video messages from Jay Shetty, scripture or uplifting messages.
Last October, Colin shared a video on his Facebook account entitled, “If You Miss Someone Watch This.” I found myself missing Colin, so I watched the video.
Colin was laid to rest over the weekend. I still can’t believe he’s gone. It was wonderful to see Colin’s colleagues, current and former come together for his memorial and funeral.
What Others Had To Say
One of my good friends and colleagues, Paul Fernander, who used to work at ZNS, paid tribute to Colin. I want to share a piece of it.
“Colin, unlike many young persons, wanted nothing else but to be behind the cameras, behind the action; he wanted to be a part of the whole, not just the glitz and glamour. During that time, most young Bahamians wanted to get to ZNS to be announcers like Charles Carter, Calsey Johnson, Ed Bethel, Jeff Scavella, Anthony Foster, Elva Rolle, Nadine Beneby, Carl Bethel or newscasters like Dorothy Panza, Mike Smith, Wendall Jones or sportscasters like Kirk Smith, Phil Smith or Peter Bowleg. There were few who wanted to do the grunt work, the work that was the glue that held the broadcast together,” he said.
“In eulogizing Colin, many will speak glowingly about his selfless dedication to the BCB, the late nights, the early mornings, the putting in the extra mile when others said ‘I don’t get paid enough to do that’. They will present accolades and praises of Colin’s unbelievable commitment, but he will never hear it. Like many Bahamian who have died and will continue to die, persons who dedicate their lives to building a better Bahamas [will only be] recognized at their homegoing service. They will never receive their flowers while they are on earth.”
Paul is right. But, the media need to lead the way.
It’s important for us to honour and celebrate our own. The nation as a whole often remembers fallen politicians and other people of great importance. Colin is no different.
I sincerely hope that this year the Bahamas Press Club will find some special way to pay tribute to Colin. We must ensure that the journalists who come behind us will remember people like him.
The next time you watch the news, no matter which station it’s on, know that there’s a Colin behind that camera working hard to keep you informed.
I send my condolences to his entire family – biological and professional.
Colin, your work ethic, smile and spirit will truly be missed.